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Adolf Engler:

Syllabus of Plant Families - A. Engler's Syllabus der Pflanzenfamilien Part 3: Bryophytes and seedless Vascular Plants

Marchantiophyta, Bryophyta, Anthocerotophyta, Protracheophyta (Horneophytopsida), Tracheophyta p.p.: Rhyniophytina, Lycophytina, Trimerophytina, Moniliformopses (Pteridophyta), Radiatopses (Progymnospermopsida)

Ed.: Wolfgang Frey; Michael Stech; Eberhard Fischer

2009. 13. edition, VIII, 419 pages, 72 figures, 17x25cm, 1140 g
Language: English

ISBN 978-3-443-01063-8, bound, price: 89.00 €

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Keywords

plant familiesliverworthornwortfernLeberblümchenHornkrautFarn

Contents

Description top ↑

Part 3 of Engler's Syllabus of Plant Families - "Bryophytes and seedless Vascular Plants" provides a thorough treatment of the world-wide morphological and molecular diversity of a part of "lower" plants [Marchantiophyta, Bryophyta, Anthocerotophyta, Polysporangiomorpha, Protracheophytes, Rhyniophytina, Lycophytina, "Trimerophytina", Moniliformopses (Cladoxylopsida, Psilotopsida, Equisetopsida, Marattiopsida, Polypodiopsida)], and Radiatopses (Progymnospermopsida).
The advent of DNA sequencing and advances in phylogenetic analysis has raised new interest in the relationships of liverworts, mosses, hornworts, ferns, and fern allies as extant representatives of early land plant evolution. Following the tradition of Engler with the morphological-anatomical data and incorporating latest results from molecular phylogenetics and phylogenomics, an up-to-date overview of families and genera has been created that will serve as reference for a long time.

Engler's Syllabus of Plant Families has since its first publication in 1887 aimed to provide both the researcher, and particularly the student with a concise survey of the plant kingdom as a whole, presenting all higher systematic units right down to families and genera of plants and fungi. In 1964, more than 40 years ago, the 12th edition of the well-known "Syllabus der Pflanzenfamilien" ("Syllabus of Plant Families"), set a standard.
Now, the completely restructured and revised 13th edition of Engler's Syllabus published in 5 parts and in English language, for the fi rst time also considers molecular data, which have only recently become available in order to provide an up-to-date evolutionary and systematic overview of the plant groups treated.
In our "molecular times" there is a growing need to preserve the knowledge of the entire range of diversity and biology of organisms for coming generations, as there is a decline in "classical" morphological and taxonomical expertise, especially for less popular (showy) groups of organisms. Accordingly, the 13th edition of Syllabus of Plant Families synthesizes both modern data and classical expertise, serving to educate future experts who will maintain our knowledge of the full range of Earth's biodiversity.
Syllabus of Plant Families is a mandatory reference for students, experts and researchers from all fields of biological sciences, particularly botany.

Review: Journal of Bryology top ↑

One of the most prized botanical series, Die natürlichen Pflanzenfamilien, which aimed at presenting the full diversity of plants and fungi on the earth was initiated in 1887. It has gained worldwide fame, and in many cases it still remains the basic source of information on various groups of these organisms, especially of their exotic representatives. The series was initiated by the great German systematist and phytogeographer Adolf Engler (18441930), who served for many years as its editor (initially with Karl Prantl). After his death publication of the series slowed down, especially during World War II. It finally died a natural death in 1959, when the last volume (dealing with the Myristicaceae, together with the supplement to the Canellaceae) was published by J. C. T. Uphof.

Die natürlichen Pflanzenfamilien was an extensive multi-volume hence from its inception there was a clear need for the presentation of basic information about the families and genera in each group of plants and fungi in a compressed form, which would give botanists of various specialties an understanding of the often complex classifications involved. Accordingly, subsequent editions of Die natürlichen Pflanzenfamilien were accompanied, at several years’ intervals, by relevant Syllabuses der Pflanzenfamilien consisting of abridged and concise surveys of higher taxa, including genera, in all the groups concerned, corresponding to the current state of knowldge. In this way 12 editions were published, the first of which, that of 1892, had two versions: a smaller (“Kleine Ausgabe”) and a larger (“Grosse Ausgabe”). These were one-volume treatments, and only the last edition was a two-volume work (published in 1954 and 1964). In 1983, the 13th edition of Syllabus der Pflanzenfamilien was initiated and it was planned to consist of seven volumes, some of which were to consist of several issues. Alas, this ambitious project has never been realised and only one issue, devoted to mosses, was published by K. Walther.

However, the idea of republishing Engler’s Syllabus der Pflanzenfamilien was not forgotten, and the project was revived in 2009 when the first (nominally the third) of five planned volumes of the new 13th edition was published. This completely restructured and revised edition will consist of the following groups of organisms: blue-green algae, myxomycetes, fungi and lichens (Vol. 1), eukaryotic algae (Vol. 2), bryophytes and seedless vascular plants (Vol. 3 now published), and seed plants (Vols. 45). Time will show whether the publisher will bring the project to completion. The mosses had already had a 13th edition in 1983; to avoid future confusion the publishers ought to clarify that the present edition is, for them, actually the 14th. However, it should be noted that the liverworts and hornworts were last treated (by H. Reimers) in the 12th (1954) edition of the Syllabus. The organisers of multi-volumed works would be well advised to ensure that, prior to starting, they have several volumes ready for press. It is worth noting that the present edition of A. Engler’s Syllabus der Pflanzenfamilien is the first published in English, all former editions being available in German only.

In Engler’s series Die natürlichen Pflanzenfamilien mosses occupy a unique position because this is the only group of plants which reached two editions, which were published in the years 19011909 (Ed. 1) and 19241925 (Ed. 2). The great Finnish bryologist Viktor F. Brotherus (18491929) deserves the credit for this achievement. This two-volume opus still remains the only guide of mosses on a global scale. The classification system used in this work is generally called the Fleischer-Brotherus system and it was based upon the system proposed by Max Fleischer (18611930), which was presented for the first time in its full version in the eighth edition of the Syllabus in 1919 and subsequently adopted and popularised, with some modifications, in the second edition of Die natürlichen Pflanzenfamilien. Although in recent decades the classification of mosses has undergone many changes, the Fleischer-Brotherus system still sits at the core of modern classifications.

The volume under review initiates the 13th edition of A. Engler’s Syllabus and covers the early land plants, which in the old literature are designated as Archegoniatae. These are cryptogamous plants with a heteromorphic and heterophasic alternation of generations and the presence of an archegonium as main characters. The major groups of these plants constitute bryophytes which in modern concepts consist of three divisions: liverworts (Marchantiophyta), mosses (Bryophyta) and hornworts (Anthocerophyta); and three subdivisions of the division of vascular plants (Tracheophyta): extinct Rhyniophytina, partly extinct Lycophytina and Euphyllophytina. The latter subdivision contains ‘Trimerophytina’, a small paraphyletic group of extinct plants and two superclasses: horsetails and ferns (Moniliformopses) and the extinct protogymnosperms (Radiatopses). The fourth subdivision of the vascular plants constitute seed plants (Spermatophytina) which will be presented in the two last volumes of the Syllabus.

The rapid development of molecular techniques, based on sequencing DNA, have provided new insights into the phylogeny, origin and evolution of various groups of plants and fungi, and phylogenetic studies have dominated in plant taxonomy in the last two decades. The authors have adopted a system based largely on comparative morphology and molecular data which was outlined in the works of Kenrick and Crane (1997) and Qiu et al. (2007). They believe that it will be the basic source of information on the classification systems for bryophytes and seedless vascular plants for a long time, but considering the quick progress in phylogenetic studies, it is almost certain that after several years it will require further modifications. This is clearly visible in alternative recent classifications of mosses (e.g. Goffinet, Buck & Shaw, 2009), hornworts (Duff et al., 2007; Renzanglia et al., 2009) and liverworts (e.g. Crandall-Stotler, Stotler & Long, 2009a, b).

Almost two third of this volume of the Syllabus is occupied by the treatment of bryophytes which was compiled by W. Frey and M. Stech; the chapters devoted to spore-bearing vascular plants were contributed E. Fischer. Most bryologists will be familiar with the classification of the bryophytes employed because it was presented several years ago by Frey & Stech (2005a, b) and Stech & Frey (2008), and its authors constructed it combining morphological and molecular data. Naturally, discussion of its various details is beyond a review. After each higher taxon the authors provide a set of references for the basic and most important literature relating to it, and this greatly facilitates selection by readers of the most appropriate literature dealing with a given taxon.

The general scheme of the presentation of taxa is similar to that in earlier editions of the Syllabus. All higher taxa, families inclusive, are briefly described morphologically and their ecological preferences and geographical distribution are provided. A valuable point in this description is the presentation of the most important molecular features of each taxon. For each family all genera are listed alphabetically, and their most important diagnostic characters and the total number of species are enumerated. A very valuable feature of the present edition of bryophytes in Engler’s Syllabus is quotation of the author names for all suprageneric taxa, unfortunately without bibliographic data. It is of importance because for many taxa the names of the authorities have been erroneously quoted, leading to considerable chaos. It is worth noting that the authors correctly interpret Article 49.2 of the Code, which clearly states that suprageneric taxa are automatically typified and parenthetical authors are not to be cited for them.

The book is richly illustrated with line drawings and black-and-white photographs taken from various sources, which are listed at the end of the book. The treatment of bryophytes provides a concise and competent review of all currently recognised and accepted genera and suprageneric taxa of hornworts, liverworts and mosses and it is a valuable source of information on the latest concepts and trends in their classification. It fills a serious gap in the literature because it is more and more difficult to follow all the changes in the classification of bryophytes. It is especially so because treatments dealing with molecular studies are often published beyond traditional bryological and botanical journals. Treatments such as this do not need special recommendation because they belong to the category of ‘must-have’ books in the working library of any bryologist or pteridologist.

Ryszard Ochyra

Journal of Bryology

Review: Nova Hedwigia vol. 90 1-2 (2010) top ↑

After more than 100 years (1st ed. 1892) and nearly after half a century (12th ed. vol. 1, 1954; vol. 2, 1964) a new edition of Adolf Engler’s famous survey of the plant kingdom (including fungi) "Syllabus der Pflanzenfamilien" will be available, comprising at the end five volumes. For the first time, this important work will be entirely available in English, thus accessible for a wide audience. Although a revision of the mosses (13th ed., Kapitel V, 2 Bryophytina) by K.Walther (1983) is already available, this small booklet today is completely out-of-date. Due to the application of molecular techniques in the phylogenetic and taxonomic studies, mosses, liverworts, hornworts, ferns and fern allies has undergone dramatic modifications over the last years. A revised version of the bryophytes and seedless vascular plants, considering molecular data, therefore is absolutely necessary, indicating the relationships on familiar and generic level with respect to morphological-anatomical and molecular data.

Starting point of the series is volume 3, 'Bryophytes and seedless vascular plants' (ferns and fern allies), written by Wolfgang Frey, Michael Stech (Marchantiophyta, Bryophyta, Anthocerotophyta) and Eberhard Fischer (ferns and fern allies).

The systematic arrangement presented reflects our current state of understanding of bryophyte and fern diversity and is based primarily on morphology and molecular data. The well illustrated text consist of nine sections: 1 Introduction, 2 Embryobionta, 3 Bryophytes, 4 Marchantiophyta (liverworts), 5 Bryophyta (mosses), 6 Anthocerotophyta (hornworts), 7 Polysporangiomorpha, 8 "Protracheophytes" (Horneophytopsida), and 9 Tracheophyta [Rhyniophytina, Lycophytina, Euphyllophytina, Moniliformopses (Cladoxylopsida, Psilotopsida, Equisetopsida, Marattiopsida, Polypodiopsida), Radiatopses (Progymnospermopsida)], completed by several photo plates in section 9. The figures to each higher syntaxon are superbly and show the characters and broad range within a group.

Sections 1 (Introduction), 2 (Embryobionta), and 7 (Polysporangiomorpha) present an excellent summary on the phylogeny and current systematic of this extant representatives of early land plant evolution, and the advances observed in the last two decades. They include an informative and well based summary on the different plant lineages and the phylogenetic reconstruction that will serve as a prime reference for a long time. To sum up these sections, a general trend to give higher ranks to different lineages within the traditionally defined taxa can be observed at present. 'Bryophytes' are paraphyletic, and liverworts represent the earliest diverging lineage, being the sister clade to all other land plants. Recent multigene phylogenies place hornworts sister to vascular plants, and mosses sister to this hornwort-tracheophyte clade. Rhyniophytes and Lycophytes are sister to all other vascular plants, which are divided in two clades: Moniliformopses (horsetails, ferns) and Spermatophytina. Horsetails (Equisetopsida) clearly are ferns, and the traditionally group 'Hydropterides' (Salviniaceae, Marsileaceae) obviously is monophyletic.

The following taxonomical sections present higher systematic units down to families and genera, including the scientific name with authorities for each higher taxon, a short informative description, figures and remarks to recent references for a 'further reading'. New taxonomical concepts (which exist) are only included, if molecular data are available and support a new taxonomical placement [e. g., Dicranellaceae, Oncophoraceae (both formerly treated within the Dicranaceae)]. If based only morphologically, they are neglected (e.g., Bryum, which still is kept into the broad traditional sense). A strong segregation can be observed within the pleurocarpous mosses, where recent molecular data lead to a splitting of many 'traditional, old' families, such as Amblystegiaceae (now splitted in Amblystegiaceae, Calliergonaceae, Scorpidiaceae), Leskeaceae (now splitted in Leskeaceae, Pseudoleskeaceae, Pseudoleskeellaceae), or the separate treatment of, just to name a few, Antitrichiaceae, Habrodontaceae, Heterocladiaceae, Myriniaceae, or Pterigynandraceae. Further taxonomic and nomenclatural changes within the group of pleurocarpous mosses must be expected in future.

An outstanding work is also done by Eberhard Fischer, who is the responsible author for the fern and fern allies. As in the bryophytes, the molecular data of the last years changed our traditional concepts drastically, hindered by the many known fossils. I am not a palaeobotanist nor a fern specialist. However, by a first reading of sections 7 to 9, I have the feeling, he did a great job, summarizing all these puzzling data. All of the most relevant literature is considered, and the result is an excellent, modern and very informative overview on the present fern and fern allies systematic.

'Nowbody is perfect'. This fact is well known to everybody who ever has written a comprehensive book like that one, now presented. It is not the right place to criticise typographical errors (which are present and normal) nor to criticise generic and/or familiar concepts or higher syntaxa (not all specialists will accept the strong splitting of the liverworts into eight classes). However, one big 'fault pas' must be mentioned: on p. 11 (general description of Marchantiophyta), the Marchantiophyta in total are characterised solely as 'thallos'. Of course, the majority of them are leafy (frondose). Obviously, the computer played a trick, mixing some of the text modules.

Volume 3 of the new 'Engler’s Syllabus of Plant Families' is a well done, well based and solid book. It represents an outstanding treatment of the bryophytes, ferns and fern allies and is an important step towards a solid familiar and generic rearrangement of the taxa. This volume quickly will become an essential work in any library. It is an extremely handy source and a basic treatment for finding the most up-to-date taxa, data and references, and most valuable for students and all botanists, interested in the world-wide bryophyte and fern diversity. Hats off for this phantastic new edition of the 'Syllabus' and congratulations to the authors for this excellent work.

HARALD KÜRSCHNER

Nova Hedwigia vol. 90 1-2 (2010)

Review: Acta Botanica Hungarica 52(1-2), 2010 top ↑

The previous (12th) edition of Engler’s Syllabus of plant families was published a half century ago and became a popular and standard overview of all higher systematic units of plants and fungi down to families and genera. Now a new completely revised and phylogenetically updated English edition is under publishing, which contains five volumes. Part 3, “Bryophytes and seedless vascular plants” provides a thorough worldwide synopsis of the morphological and molecular diversity of lower plants, including Marchantiophyta, Bryophyta, Anthoceratophyta, Polysporangiomorpha, Protracheophytes, Rhyniophytina, Lycophytina, “Trimerophytina”, Moniliformopses and Radiatopses.

The most important novelty of this new edition is the incorporation of the latest molecular phylogenetic and phylogenomic results in the classification system and the general approach of the book. However, the substantial aim of the book is invariably the review of the huge morphological diversity of these lower plants, and this is undoubtedly performed in an excellent way. The 419 page long, concisely edited book is a monograph of mosses and ferns. All higher taxa from divisions to genera are described in details; important characters are listed and discussed briefly in a textbook-like manner. The present molecular phylogenetic knowledge is summarised in the descriptions, and the molecular phylogenetic approach is present throughout the whole book. Despite, because of the catalogue-like structure of the book, we will not find many figures containing phylogenetic trees. References are dispersed evenly in the end of the descriptions of orders. The book contains many plates with excellent illustrations, containing ultrastructural, histological, and macromorphological pictures. Most of them are classical line-drawings, but a number of refreshing scanning electronmicrographs and photos are also included. The photos are unfortunately black and white, which does not facilitate their usability.

The book-series can serve as a very useful lexicon for an undoubtedly wide range of botanists. The spread of molecular phylogenetic analyses brought new interest in the research of lower plants as extant representatives of early plant evolution. Parallel to that, the classical morphological and taxonomic investigations become a little bit neglected. The authors emphasise, that besides the molecular investigations, there is an essential need to collect and preserve the knowledge of the whole diversity and biology of these organisms for the next generations. This book could serve as a basis for maintaining our knowledge for the future, mean a fund in the education of experts, and serve as a reference for a long time. Whatever new results of molecular sequencing methods will replace the present phylogenies, the morphological part of the book will remain a complete and invariable basis hopefully for a long time. According to the words of the authors: “Syllabus of plant families is a mandatory reference for students, experts and researchers from all fields of biological sciences, particularly botany.”

Á. K. KISS

Acta Botanica Hungarica 52 (1-2), 2010

Bespr.: Willdenowia 39 (2) - 2009 top ↑

“Gut Ding braucht Weil”, einen engagierten Herausgeber und einen Verlag, der heute ein derartiges Unternehmerrisiko auf sich nimmt: Adolf Englers “Syllabus der Pflanzenfamilien” wird nach einem halben Jahrhundert erfolgreich wieder belebt. Die Bryophyten (i. w. S.), Farne und Farnverwandten bilden als Band 3 den Auftakt und das Pilotprojekt zur geplanten fünfbändigen Neuauflage. Die 12. Auflage, herausgegeben von H. Melchior und E. Werdermann, erschien 1954 (Band 1), bzw. 1964 (Band 2). Die Bryophytina erlebten letztmalig 1983 eine teilweise Überarbeitung durch K. Walther. Als Herausgeber für die nunmehrige 13. Auflage konnte Wolfgang Frey (Berlin) gewonnen werden, der zusammen mit Michael Stech (Leiden) und Eberhard Fischer (Koblenz) auch als Autor zeichnet. Die Arbeitsteilung zwischen den Autoren kann dem Vorblatt entnommen werden (W. Frey, M. Stech: Leber-, Laub- und Hornmoose; E. Fischer: “samenlose Gefäßpflanzen”).

Vollständig neu strukturiert und aktualisiert erschließt diese Auflage nicht nur den Zugang zur Klassifikation der vorgestellten Organismengruppen und deren Morphologie und Anatomie, sie berücksichtigt erstmals auch die zahlreichen molekularsystematischen Forschungsergebnisse der letzten Jahre. Zeitgemäß wird der “Syllabus” nun erstmalig in englischer Sprache veröffentlicht. Das Werk steht, von diesen Neuerungen abgesehen, in jeder Hinsicht in der Tradition des Englerschen “Syllabus”. Die zentrale konzeptionelle These findet sich gleich im Vorwort: “We are convinced that in the ‘molecular times there is an indispensable need to preserve the knowledge of the whole diversity and biology of organisms for the next generations. Otherwise, we will not be able to educate experts in the future who will maintain our knowledge of the full range of the biodiversity of our earth”.

Der “Syllabus” liefert demgemäß nicht nur einen fakten- und facettenreichen Überblick über die Systematik der behandelten rezenten und fossilen Großgruppen (Marchantiophyta, Bryophyta, Anthocerotophyta, Polysporangiomorpha, Protracheophyta, Rhyniophytina, Lycophytina, “Trimerophytina”, Moniliformopses inkl. Cladoxylopsida, Psilotopsida, Equisetopsida, Marattiopsida, Polypodiopsida und Radiatopses [Progymnospermopsida]) bis zur Gattungsebene, er ist darüber hinaus eine prägnante und höchst lesenswerte Einführung in die Evolution der frühen Landpflanzen. Dies und die griffigen Kurzcharakteristika der Großgruppen, Familien und Gattungen machen das Buch zu einer Lektüre, auf die auch Studierende mit Gewinn zurückgreifen können. Unglücklich ist in dieser Hinsicht der wohl technisch verursachte Lapsus auf Seite 11, die Marchantiophyta ausschließlich als thallos zu charakterisieren (die Mehrzahl der Arten ist folios). Im Allgemeinen aber ist das Buch ein sorgfältig gemachtes Produkt, tipp- und satzfehlerarm und tadellos gedruckt. Die schiere Faktenfülle kollidiert etwas mit dem strikten Gebot einer Begrenzung der Seitenzahl. Der sehr dichte Satzspiegel, die vielen Abkürzungen, der sparsame Gebrauch von Leerzeilen und einige andere Layouteigentümlichkeiten sind nicht unbedingt leserfreundlich. Ein großzügigeres Layout und vielleicht die eine oder andere Farbtafel hätten das Werk in dieser Hinsicht noch weiter von den klassischen Vorgängerauflagen abgesetzt.

Der “Syllabus” ist jedoch mit einer Vielzahl hervorragender, z. T. eigens dafür erstellter Abbildungen von H. Lünser und E. Fischer ausgestattet. Ganz überwiegend sind es Tafeln mit Strichzeichnungen, oft um REM-Bilder ergänzt. Auch Stammbäume fehlen nicht. Fototafeln (in schwarz-weiß) sind die seltene Ausnahme.

Es wäre beckmesserisch, hier die sporadischen, bei einem Werk dieses Umfangs unvermeidlichen Inkonsistenzen, etwa bei Abkürzungen von Autorennamen, Artenzahlen, etc. aufzulisten. Ein Manko ist, dass Hinweise auf taxonomische Neuheiten fehlen (etwa in Form eines Verzeichnisses); im unübersichtlichen Satzspiegel von S. 99 versteckt sich z. B. die Neukombination Austrolejeunea macrostipula (Gradst.) W. Frey.

Die im “Syllabus” vertretenen taxonomischen Konzepte werden zwangsläufig, vor allem bei den hochrangigen Taxa, nicht nur auf ungeteilte Zustimmung treffen. Aber: Die vorgelegte Systematik erscheint über weite Strecken ebenso konsistent wie transparent. Jeder Klassifikationsvorschlag wird diskutiert und Vorläufiges auch als solches kenntlich gemacht. Der Anwender kann sich so anhand der bewerteten morphologischen und molekularen Merkmale ein eigenes Urteil bilden.

Insgesamt ist der “Syllabus” eine wichtige und erfreuliche Neuerscheinung auf den Buchmarkt und eine äußerst dichte und sehr aktuelle Synthese. Als Überblickswerk und Handbuch ist er Pflichtlektüre für alle an der Thematik Interessierte, aber auch ein Plädoyer dafür, dass sich Biodiversitätsforschung nicht allein auf die vermeintlich optisch attraktiveren Organismengruppen konzentrieren darf. Die rasante Erosion an taxonomisch- morphologischem Wissen ist damit natürlich nicht gestoppt. Aber der “Syllabus” liefert ein bedeutendes Instrument, um ihr zumindest lokal, z. B. im Bereich der universitären Lehre, entgegen zu wirken. Allen am “Syllabus” Beteiligten sei dafür herzlich gedankt und gratuliert. Auf die Folgebände (und ihre Autorenteams) kann man gespannt sein.

Gerald Parolly

Willdenowia 39 (2) - 2009

Recensión: Anales de Biologia 32:137, 2010 top ↑

El proyecto de reeditar Syllabus der Pflanzenfamilien de Adolf Engler en 5 volúmenes, con toda la información completamente actualizada, ha sido una buena noticia. De éstos, el volumen 1 estaría dedicado a hongos y líquenes, el 2 a las algas eucarióticas, el 3 a briófitos y plantas vasculares sin semilla, y los volúmenes 4 y 5 a espermatófitos (Spermatophytina).

El volumen que aquí se comenta comprende las plantas arquegoniadas. La mayor parte del mismo consiste en el tratamiento de los briófitos, grupo que actualmente se considera divididos en tres divisiones: Anthocerotophyta, Bryophyta y Marchantiophyta. Por otra parte se tratan en el volumen tres subdivisiones de Tracheophyta (plantas vasculares): Rhyniophytina, Lycophytina y Euphyllophytina. En este último grupo se incluyen algunos grupos de “pteridófitos” fósiles y grupos extintos de protogimnospermas.

El tratamiento de los grupos taxonómicos es relativamente conciso, pero sin renunciar a la profundidad científica esperable en obras de este tipo, que pueden ser utilizadas en el campo de la docencia y en el de la investigación, como herramienta bibliográfica auxiliar de gran valor. Las referencias que se disponen a continuación de cada taxón relevante (órdenes, familias, etc.) son especialmente importantes y de gran utilidad.

Es destacable una importante puesta al día de aspectos sistemáticos que descansan en datos de secuencias de ADN, los cuales han aportado –en los últimos 20 años– sensibles cambios conceptuales en numerosos grupos de arquegoniadas. Todo ello ha sido recogido, en la medida de lo posible, con extraordinario rigor por los autores de los distintos capítulos. El apoyo de la parte descriptiva en buena cantidad de dibujos, esquemas y fotografías es igualmente notable por su utilidad para profesores y estudiantes universitarios.

Una obra que no puede faltar en las bibliotecas de los centro de investigación y docentes del campo de la biología vegetal.

JUAN GUERRA, Departamento de Biología Vegetal, Universidad de Murcia, España

Anales de Biologia 32:137,2010

Review: Journal of Bryology (2010) 32 top ↑

One of the most prized botanical series, Die natürlichen Pflanzenfamilien, which aimed at presenting the full diversity of plants and fungi on the earth, was initiated in 1887. It has gained worldwide fame, and in many cases it still remains the basic source of information on various groups of these organisms, especially of their exotic representatives. The series was initiated by the great German systematist and phytogeographer Adolf Engler (184421930), who served for many years as its editor (initially with Karl Prantl). After his death, publication of the series slowed down, especially during the Second World War. It finally died a natural death in 1959, when the last volume (dealing with the Myristicaceae, together with the supplement to the Canellaceae) was published by J. C. T. Uphof.

Die natürlichen Pflanzenfamilien was an extensive multivolume series; hence, from its inception, there was a clear need for the presentation of basic information about the families and genera in each group of plants and fungi in a compressed form, which would give botanists of various specialties an understanding of the often complex classifications involved. Accordingly, subsequent editions of Die natürlichen Pflanzenfamilien were accompanied, at several years’ intervals, by relevant Syllabuses der Pflanzenfamilien consisting of abridged and concise surveys of higher taxa, including genera, in all the groups concerned, corresponding to the current state of knowledge. In this way, 12 editions were published, the first of which, that of 1892, had two versions: a smaller (‘Kleine Ausgabe’) and a larger (‘Grosse Ausgabe’). These were onevolume treatments, and only the last edition was a twovolume work (published in 1954 and 1964). In 1983, the thirteenth edition of Syllabus der Pflanzenfamilien was initiated and it was planned to consist of seven volumes, some of which were to consist of several issues. Alas, this ambitious project has never been realised and only one issue, devoted to mosses, was published by K. Walther.

However, the idea of republishing Engler’s Syllabus der Pflanzenfamilien was not forgotten, and the project was revived in 2009 when the first (nominally the third) of five planned volumes of the new thirteenth edition was published. This completely restructured and revised edition will consist of the following groups of organisms: blue-green algae, myxomycetes, fungi and lichens (Vol. 1), eukaryotic algae (Vol. 2), bryophytes and seedless vascular plants (Vol. 3 now published) and seed plants (Vols. 425). Time will show whether the publisher will bring the project to completion. The mosses had already had a thirteenth edition in 1983; to avoid future confusion, the publishers ought to clarify that the present edition is, for them, actually the fourteenth. However, it should be noted that the liverworts and hornworts were last treated (by H. Reimers) in the twelfth (1954) edition of the Syllabus. The organisers of multi-volumed works would be well advised to ensure that, before starting, they have several volumes ready for press. It is worth noting that the present edition of A. Engler’s Syllabus der Pflanzenfamilien is the first published in English, all former editions being available in German only.

In Engler’s series, Die natürlichen Pflanzenfamilien mosses occupy a unique position because this is the only group of plants which reached two editions, which were published in the years 190121909 (1st edn) and 192421925 (2nd edn). The great Finnish bryologist Viktor F. Brotherus (184921929) deserves the credit for this achievement. This two-volume opus still remains the only guide of mosses on a global scale. The classification system used in this work is generally called the Fleischer–Brotherus system and it was based upon the system proposed by Max Fleischer (186121930), which was presented for the first time in its full version in the eighth edition of the Syllabus in 1919 and subsequently adopted and popularized, with some modifications, in the second edition of Die natürlichen Pflanzenfamilien. Although in recent decades, the classification of mosses has undergone many changes, the Fleischer–Brotherus system still sits at the core of modern classifications.

The volume under review initiates the thirteenth edition of A. Engler’s Syllabus and covers the early land plants, which in the old literature are designated as Archegoniatae. These are cryptogamous plants with a heteromorphic and heterophasic alternation of generations and the presence of an archegonium as main characters. The major groups of these plants constitute bryophytes which in modern concepts consist of three divisions: liverworts (Marchantiophyta), mosses (Bryophyta) and hornworts (Anthocerophyta); and three subdivisions of the division of vascular plants (Tracheophyta): extinct Rhyniophytina, partly extinct Lycophytina and Euphyllophytina. The latter subdivision contains ‘Trimerophytina’, a small paraphyletic group of extinct plants and two superclasses: horsetails and ferns (Moniliformopses) and the extinct protogymnosperms (Radiatopses). The fourth subdivision of the vascular plants constitute seed plants (Spermatophytina) which will be presented in the two last volumes of the Syllabus.

The rapid development of molecular techniques, based on sequencing DNA, have provided new insights into the phylogeny, origin and evolution of various groups of plants and fungi, and phylogenetic studies have dominated in plant taxonomy in the last two decades. The authors have adopted a system based largely on comparative morphology and molecular data which were outlined in the works of Kenrick & Crane (1997) and Qiu et al. (2007). They believe that it will be the basic source of information on the classification systems for bryophytes and seedless vascular plants for a long time, but considering the quick progress in phylogenetic studies, it is almost certain that after several years it will require further modifications. This is clearly visible in alternative recent classifications of mosses (e.g. Goffinet, Buck & Shaw, 2009), hornworts (Duff et al., 2007; Renzanglia Villareal & Duff, 2009) and liverworts (e.g. Crandall-Stotler, Stotler & Long, 2009a, b).

Almost two-thirds of this volume of the Syllabus is occupied by the treatment of bryophytes which was compiled by W. Frey and M. Stech; the chapters devoted to spore-bearing vascular plants were contributed by E. Fischer. Most bryologists will be familiar with the classification of the bryophytes employed because it was presented several years ago by Frey & Stech (2005a, b) and Stech & Frey (2008), and its authors constructed it combining morphological and molecular data. Naturally, discussion of its various details is beyond a review. After each higher taxon, the authors provide a set of references for the basic and most important literature relating to it, and this greatly facilitates selection by readers of the most appropriate literature dealing with a given taxon.

The general scheme of the presentation of taxa is similar to that in earlier editions of the Syllabus. All higher taxa, families inclusive, are briefly described morphologically, and their ecological preferences and geographical distribution are provided. A valuable point in this description is the presentation of the most important molecular features of each taxon. For each family, all genera are listed alphabetically, and their most important diagnostic characters and the total number of species are enumerated. A very valuable feature of the present edition of bryophytes in Engler’s Syllabus is quotation of the author names for all suprageneric taxa, unfortunately without bibliographic data. It is of importance because for many taxa the names of the authorities have been erroneously quoted, leading to considerable chaos. It is worth noting that the authors correctly interpret Article 49.2 of the Code, which clearly states that suprageneric taxa are automatically typified and parenthetical authors are not to be cited for them.

The book is richly illustrated with line drawings and black-and-white photographs taken from various sources, which are listed at the end of the book.

The treatment of bryophytes provides a concise and competent review of all currently recognized and accepted genera and suprageneric taxa of hornworts, liverworts and mosses, and it is a valuable source of information on the latest concepts and trends in their classification. It fills a serious gap in the literature because it is more and more difficult to follow all the changes in the classification of bryophytes. It is especially so because treatments dealing with molecular studies are often published beyond traditional bryological and botanical journals. Treatments such as this do not need special recommendation because they belong to the category of ‘must-have’ books in the working library of any bryologist or pteridologist.

Ryszard Ochyra, Instytut Botaniki PAN, Kraków/Poland

Journal of Bryology (2010) 32:150-151

Table of Contents top ↑

Abbreviations, Symbols II
1 Introduction 1
2 Embryobionta 6
3 Bryophytes (Marchantiophyta, Bryophyta, Anthocerotophyta) 9
4 Marchantiophyta (Hepaticae, Liverworts) 13
Characterization and relationships 13
Synopsis of classification 20
Systematic arrangement of taxa 23
Treubiopsida 23
Haplomitriopsida 24
Blasiopsida 25
Marchantiopsida 26
Sphaerocarpidae 27
Marchantiidae 28
Fossombroniopsida 36
Pallaviciniopsida 37
Pelliopsida 41
Jungermanniopsida 43
Jungermanniidae 43
Pleuroziidae 108
Metzgeriidae 109
5 Bryophyta (Musci, Mosses) 116
Characterization and relationships 116
Synopsis of classification 121
Systematic arrangement of taxa 124
Takakiophytina 124
Takakiopsida 124
Sphagnophytina 127
Sphagnopsida 128
Bryophytina 130
Andreaeopsida 138
Andreaeidae 138
Andreaeobryidae 139
Oedipodiopsida 140
Tetraphidopsida 141
Polytrichopsida 142
Bryopsida 146
Buxbaumiidae 146
Diphysciidae 147
Timmiidae 148
Encalyptidae 149
Funariidae 150
Gigaspermidae 153
Dicranidae 154
Bryidae 185
6 Anthocerotophyta 258
Characterization and relationships 258
Systematic arrangement of taxa 259
Leiosporocerotopsida 259
Anthocerotopsida 259
7 Polysporangiomorpha 264
General remarks 264
8 "Protracheophytes" 267
Horneophytopsida 267
9 Tracheophyta 270
Characterization and relationships 270
Systematic arrangement of taxa 270
Rhyniophytina 272
Rhyniopsida 272
Lycophytina 275
Characterization and relationships 275
Synopsis of classification 278
Systematic arrangement of taxa 279
"Hsüa-Deuterophyton-group" 279
Zosterophyllopsida 281
Lycopsida 290
Euphyllophytina 307
"Trimerophytina" 308
Moniliformopses 311
Characterization and relationships 311
Synopsis of classification 316
Systematic arrangement of taxa 317
"Cladoxylopsida" 318
Psilotopsida 329
Equisetopsida 333
Marattiopsida 340
Polypodiopsida 344
Radiatopses 390
Progymnospermopsida 391
Sources of Illustrations 396
Index to Taxa 400